Monthly Archives: May 2014

The simplest way to store your bikes off the ground

If you ride a push bike frequently, you’d probably have more than one bike. If you keep your bike indoors, you’d also know they take up a lot of space. One way to save on this space they take up is to keep them off the ground. There are a number of hooks, handles and mounting hardware you can buy that will allow you to do this. A google search will show you just how many variations there are.

If you are thinking of storing your bike off the ground, but aren’t keen to spend the dollars to buy a mount or hook and then take the time to install one. I have an alternative solution for you that I simply haven’t seen elsewhere do on the web. It’s very simple; however it does require that you have a suitable ledge above head height. I present to you the frugalman-makeshift-do-without version of hanging your bike –

IMG_20140529_190848 IMG_20140529_190900 IMG_20140529_190914 IMG_20140529_190920

The great thing about this method is how easy it is to put on and take off. Simply rotate your seat 90 degrees and hang… voila!

You’ll have to excuse the mess in the storage room… still a work in progress…

How to make coffee the frugal way in your Tiny Home

If you are a habitual coffee drinker, there’s no way around it, you need your hit. I know how you feel, I drink two cups a day myself and that’s a requirement.

Here are the ways you can get your hit –

  1. Instant coffee
  2. Drip coffee
  3. Percolator
  4. French Press
  5. Espresso

I think most people will be familiar with instant coffee and buying their espresso from the local coffee shop. Nothing wrong with these methods, but if you champion the frugal lifestyle like we do – you can’t help but think about how these mundane processes can be improved upon so that it aligns with our frugal sensibilities.

All the above methods have one thing in common; they all require the additional input of heat energy in the form of boiling water to achieve the drop that you want. I should also add that some of the above methods also require specialised equipment such as an espresso machine or a percolator. However there is one method I haven’t mentioned that does not require any specialise equipment or the need for boiling water… and that is the Cold Press or Cold Brew method. If you not familiar with this method it is exactly as it sounds. All you do is pour cold water onto your coffee grounds and let it steep, and voila, Cold Press coffee! Well… like all things in life there is a catch and the catch is simple to state, it requires time, 12 hours to be exact. On first thought, it’s not exactly in line with the frugal motto of saving time, but on second thoughts, it all depends on how we prepare it and organise ourselves around it.

Frugalites are not ones to watch paint dry, so if you make the brew the night before, you can go to sleep and by morning it will be ready to drink. Problem solved, and it’s exactly how I choose to make my drop.

There are several other benefits to cold brewing –

  1. Boiling water not required, therefore kettle not required and energy input also not required
  2. No need for bulky machines or specialised equipment
  3. The taste is smoother and less bitter as described by coffee connoisseurs
  4. It’s hip
  5. Perfect for Tiny Homes – In fact, because of all the above benefits, it truly is the only method you should be using to make your coffee in your Tiny Home.

I haven’t included any pictures in this post, because it really is that simple. Just pour cold water onto your grounds and let steep. In the morning the grounds will settle and you can drink it straight out of the cup without filtering just like Turkish coffee. If you want to be a bit fancy you can cold brew it in a French press, this is also quite popular and it’s how I choose to cold press my cup every day.

How to carry your bike on your car frugal style!

Ok first up, this is for folks who already have roof racks.

Now, there are basically 4 ways to carry your bike on your car, you can put it on a –

  1. Tow bar mounted rear bike carrier;
  2. Boot mounted clip on/strap on rear bike carrier;
  3. Roof mounted bike carrier; or
  4. If you have a hatch or wagon, take the front wheel off and shove it in the rear

The problem I had with the above was –

  1. I didn’t have a tow bar and did not want to pay $1000 for one just to carry my bike;
  2. Was not prepared to pay $100 for a rear strap-on/clip-on rear bike carrier in order to test whether or not they were sturdy and strong enough for my liking.
  3. I actually bought a roof mounted bike carrier thinking they would be easy to put on, but I found it extremely difficult to first of all install the bloody thing and second of all it was a strain to put the bike on it because I was constantly trying to balance the bike while clumsily trying to attach the arm to it for stability.
  4. There’s actually no problem with this method, it’s my go to method all the time. It’s very easy these days if you have front wheels that come off easily to shove it in the back of your hatch if you have space. I use to own a 3 door Daihatsu Charade hatchback, it was tiny, but I could still fit a bike in the back no problems (rear seats folded down of course). The problem arises when you need to fit two bikes, or you are not able to fold the rear seat down because you have friends to pick up in the back.

What to do?…

Well to tell you the truth, the solution only came to me while I was servicing my bike. When I service my bike, I lay it upside down where the seat and handle bars thus become the 3 points of ground contact to keep the bike steady, and as I stared at it, it slowly but surely became apparent to me that I could tie it onto my roof racks in the same position without the need for any special mounts.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen it tied on like this before and I was sure that as soon as I tried to I would encounter the reason why it couldn’t be done like this, so I gave it a shot.

I lifted my bike in the upside down position and proceeded to plonk it on top of my roof racks. I laid the seat on one of the rails and the handle bars on the other rail. There was a bit of adjusting to get both rails at the right distance apart, but once I got that right the bike was now able sit there by itself – that’s actually the easy part. Without a dedicated mount with clamps/straps/ratchets you need to rely on something else to tie it down. That something else was obviously going to be rope, because that’s all I had. Unfortunately, tying things down with rope is actually not that easy. I was able to tie down the rear section of the bike down with a simple truckies knot, but the front of the bike where the handle bars sat required a bit more forethought. After a bit of research I came to the conclusion that lashing the handlebars to the rails was going to be the most secure.

I found this neat technique for lashing things together called zigzag turns on this site – http://www.asiteaboutnothing.net/cr_most-useful-knots.html#zigzag-turns

This type of lashing with zig zag turns essentially has a ratcheting effect. The more zig zags turns the tighter the lashing.

Once you have it all tied down, it looks something like this below –

God I love rope… one of the most useful things invented by us humans…

As I rode around town with the bike strapped on, every single cyclist I drove past gave me the same look, as in “hmmm interesting way of tying on a bike” look…